Doug Kacena is taking his show on the road.
Art is not always virtual; you don't need an invitation to see it. Sometimes art finds us, and that's what Kacena, the owner of K Contemporary, a LoDo gallery currently shuttered by the stay-at-home order, is reminding us with #ArtFindsUs, a new project he's curated in response to the major roadblock that the coronavirus pandemic has put in the path of art.
"The obstacle is the way," Kacena explains. "How do you look at an obstacle and find a way forward?"
He looked at the obstacle, and saw the opportunity to create an art display that could pop up all over town, on a mobile billboard that usually advertises sports bars and adult clubs. Now it sports giant reproductions of pieces by Shawn Huckins and Daisy Patton, two of the artists he's shown at his cutting-edge gallery.
Their works will tour the town over the next few days, with a stop at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, at 5 p.m. on April 30, followed by a quick tour of Olde Town Arvada before moving on to Boulder. On May 1, the #ArtsFindsUs truck will fuel a First Friday effort that will run from 5 to 9 p.m. all around Denver.
“#ArtFindsUs provides an interesting opportunity to see where we want our culture to go and to spark the kind of conversations about how we want to show up as a society,” says Kacena. “We find ourselves at a unique crossroad where the way we experience, resonate and engage with art has changed. I think we are on the precipice of a new cultural renaissance globally. The #ArtFindsUs project is only the beginning in a series
of pop-up, off-site and public installations that I have planned in conversation with our in-gallery exhibition schedule.”
Kacena, who's organized pop-ups at such unusual locations as the Governor's Residence at Boettcher Mansion and Rockmount Ranch Wear, already had pop-up shows planned in Santa Fe and Los Angeles, but the pandemic wiped them off the schedule. “Even when the stay-at-home orders eventually lift, galleries and museums will have to adapt to a new normal,” Kacena notes. “Although many of these cultural institutions are offering virtual or digital content for their fans and followers, the constant online stream of white-cube-style gallery shows lacks the authenticity of experiencing art in person.”
That's not the case with #ArtFindsUs. If you spot the mobile gallery on its tours around town, you can get up close and personal with the works...while wearing a mask and observing proper social distancing, of course.
Although this road show will end this weekend, Kacena is considering another tour, perhaps with a mobile art cart on the back. He's also looking at innovative ways to show art in his gallery at 1412 Wazee Street, including VIP receptions that stick to fewer than ten viewers at a time, and is looking forward to installing a new show next month.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.